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Vendor Tipping - Your Cheat Sheet

Tipping can be tricky business, so we put together a cheat sheet for you to follow on the big night. I recommend having all your tips in envelopes already put together. You don't want to be tipping tipsy. The tipping falls on the duty of either the father of the bride, the best man or the wedding planner. Give your pre-planned tips to one of these before the beginning of the ceremony.

Wedding Planner

Wedding planners usually do not expect anything. However, if yours did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation.

Tipping: Optional

Amount: Up to $500, or a nice gift

When to Tip: The bride should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or, she should send a thank-you note with photos, check or gift after the honeymoon.

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist

Gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 - 20 percent just as you would in a hair salon.

Tipping: Expected

Amount: 15 - 25 percent, depending upon the quality of service

When to Tip: At the end of your service

Delivery and Set-up Staff

Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items like the wedding cake, flowers, or tent.

Tipping: Expected

Amount: $5 - $10 per person

When to Tip: Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager or wedding planner.

Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you're often expected to make a donation to that institution. However, if you're getting married there and they're charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. If you're using a nondenominational officiant, no tip is required because they will charge you for their time.

Tipping: Expected

Amount: Donate $500+ to the church or synagogue, or, for a nondenominational officiant, an optional tip of $50 - $100

When to Tip: Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the wedding planner pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner or after the ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don't have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.

Tipping: Optional

Amount: $15 - $20 per musician

When to Tip: At the end of the ceremony.

Wedding Photographer/Videographer

You are not required to, their services are included in their fee. However, if they do a great job its always a nice gesture.

Tipping: Optional

Amount: $50 - $200 per vendor

When to Tip: At the end of the reception.

Wedding Reception Staff

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maitre d', and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

Tipping: Expected

Amount: 15 - 20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200 - $300 for the maitre d'.

When to Tip: If it's covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or wedding planner hand the envelope to the maitre d' at the end of the reception.

Wedding Reception Attendants

When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom, and coat-room attendants the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it's not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Tipping: Optional, based on contract

Amount: $20 - $25 per bartender or waiter; $1 per guest for coat room and parking attendants; $1 per car

When to Tip: Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, you could alternately distribute them at the beginning of the evening, to encourage all the workers to give you great service.

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Whether you hire 12-piece swing band or grooving to a DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional. Also, don't forget about any sound technicians they bring with them.

Tipping: Optional, yet preferred

Amount: $20 - $25 per musician; $50 - $150 for DJs

When to Tip: At the end of the reception, by the father of the bride or wedding planner

Wedding Transportation

Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn't, plan to tip.


Tipping: Expected

Amount: 15 - 20 percent of the total bill

When to Tip: At the end of the night or after the last ride.


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